U.S. threats of legal action and sanctions forced Greek shipowners to surrender Iranian fuel to the U.S. government in recent days, people familiar with the confiscation said.
The Justice Department on Friday confirmed it had confiscated cargo in four vessels allegedly loaded with Iranian fuel in violation of sanctions, as the Trump administration steps up its campaign of maximum pressure against Iran. The fuel was headed for Venezuela.
Roughly 1.116 million barrels of fuel was confiscated from the foreign-flagged vessels M/T Bella, M/T Bering, M/T Pandi and M/T Luna, a Justice Department statement said, adding that the seizure took place “with the assistance of foreign partners.”
The cargo was intercepted on Wednesday, under a warrant issued by a U.S. District Court over a July 2 complaint seeking the forfeiture of all petroleum products aboard the vessels. The property is now in U.S. custody, the Justice Department said.